First Responders

Legislators craft Dallas pension solution with little help from mayor

Legislators craft Dallas pension solution with little help from mayor

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
Mayor Mike Rawlings Photo by James Edward

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees, to keep the fund stable.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may be partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

But all told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it's going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

Some residents feel it isn’t the city’s responsibility to provide a solution. But we cannot continue to leave our officers and firefighters financially vulnerable and expect them to perform at their best.

The Mayor needs to recognize he's creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and firefighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he's creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he's creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and firefighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he's creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it's the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.

Following months of uncertainty, some progress is being made to divert one of the biggest potential crises for the city of Dallas: the disposition of the massively troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension. But we don't have Mayor Mike Rawlings to thank for it.

Due to gross mismanagement, the pension fund has acquired a debt of nearly $8 billion and is feared to be defunct in a decade. An infusion of about $1 billion is required to remain solvent, which is roughly the size of the city's annual budget.

There are no easy answers, but on May 4, the Texas House unanimously approved a solution put forth by State Rep. Dan Flynn. It would increase the city's annual contribution to $1.35 billion, change the makeup of its board of trustees, and allow the board to "claw back" interest payments that have already been paid out to retirees.

Rawlings opposed it, and stoked the tension with melodramatic comments. "They have been taken to the alley and beaten up pretty bad over this," he said, referring to taxpayers.

"This may be my Alamo," he told NBC. "The deck is stacked against me, but I'm going to focus on the Senate. I'm going to work on it. But if I go down, I'm going down like Col. Travis for the taxpayers, OK? They have taken the citizens out in an alley and just pistol-whipped them."

Rawlings' actions have been so unwelcome that he's been uninvited to a Police Memorial Day by the Fraternal Order of Police on May 17. The group sent the mayor a letter asking him not to participate in the annual ceremony placing a wreath at the police memorial wall honoring fallen officers.

In the letter, FOP president Michael Walton wrote, "Mr. Rawlings, the rhetoric that you have displayed over the past several years towards police has hit an all-time high."

Tensions may have partially eased with a tweaked version of the bill presented presented to the Texas Senate by Senators Royce West and Don Huffines.

All told, the fight is having a chilling effect.

Experienced officers are leaving the Dallas Police Department in droves, driven off by the pension crisis and after being poached by other cities, nearby and throughout the state. Starting pay is lower in Dallas than other cities, making it hard to attract new recruits. Hiring can't keep pace with the rate at which officers are leaving. Higher crime rates in Dallas make the department less desirable.

Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata believes the city will soon see the lowest number of officers patrolling Dallas streets in decades, even if the pension is resolved in Austin, because of the remaining challenges. He expects up to 250 officers will retire by summer’s end.

"We will fall to 2,700 officers by the end of the summer, and it will be near impossible for this department to give adequate and above par service to the citizens," Mata says.

Dallas' problem isn't unique; Houston is in a similar situation. The Texas Legislature is looking to provide solutions for pension funds in both Dallas and Houston to avoid risking bankruptcy for the two cities.

But at the end of the day, Mayor Rawlings and the City Council are responsible — for us as taxpayers and to take care of our first responders. Ultimately it will be the taxpayers footing the bill. Yes, it’s going to cost us, but it’s the right thing to do for Dallas to move forward, collectively.

The Mayor needs to recognize he’s creating avoidable stress among residents, police, and fire fighters. He needs to show loyalty to the police officers and firefighters who sacrifice their lives and have been asked by the city to take concessions in the past with promises to pay it back in the future. Our first responders have been told the city would make it right. Now is the time for the Mayor to follow through on that commitment.